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The Cat's Meow
Sunday, 11 November 2012
My "NEW" Ciocc Titan
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Cycling

Yesterday, I won this beauty on eBay:

Its a very rare Ciocc "Titan".  It has a titanium frame, carbon fork, 3T bars with a Mutant stem, and a Campagnolo Chorus gruppo with a triple crankset (27 gears!).  It should arrive from Zurich by early December.  This superbike was my wife's early Christmas/birthday present to me.  Thanks, Sweetie! Smile

 

 

 


Posted by ciocc-cat at 12:27 PM CST
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Sunday, 21 October 2012
Winning Isn't Everything
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Cycling

Graeme Street recently asked, 

“Have Recent Doping Allegations, Conspiracies, And Lies Killed Cycling?  What Matters Most Is YOU.”

My answer: Cycling is the only sport that I’ve really enjoyed participating in.  Why? Aside from the fact that I’m (somewhat) good at it, I've always believed that sports should be FUN.  Cycling for me has always been fun, even during those times when my muscles were screaming WTF at me and I was ready to kill whoever convinced me to go on such-and-such ride/race.

However, many of the P.E. and athletics coaches that I encountered even as early as elementary school seemed to subscribe to the Coach Red Saunders' mentality expressed by his (in)famous quote, "Winning isn't everything, its the only thing."  It’s that unfortunate mindset that has resulted in cheating apparently being okay as long as you don't get caught. 

(I guess I'm lucky that I never had a cycling coach. Tongue out)

What do we have to show for this? How about Lance Armstrong having all of his Tour de France wins stripped by the USADA over a sophisticated, long-term doping program? Then there’s Saints Coach Sean Peyton being suspended for a year due to the "Bountygate" scandal.  Just today, the NFL announced that it is investigating the San Diego Chargers for possibly using an illegal "Stick 'em"-like substance during their 35-24 loss to the Denver Broncos last Monday night.  I'm not even beginning to scratch the surface here . . . it goes on and on.

Back to Graeme's question: My answer is an emphatic “no”.  I started racing as a Cat IV in 1977 and LOVED it!  I enjoyed the comradery and the good natured rivalries.  For us, racing was what it was about the doing and not simply the winning.  We rode for the sheer love of the sport.  Oh, the beer and bullshit sessions after a race or long ride were lots of fun too.  There was no point in cheating because we were just lowly amateurs - there weren't multi-million dollar sponsorship fees, huge ticket sales or enormous advertising revenues at stake.  We were usually just racing for ribbons, tee-shirts, the occasional prime, and beer.  When we were racing non-sanctioned, we were often racing solely for the bragging rights (and beer).

Would taking the big money out of sports eliminate cheating? Cheating seems to (unfortunately) be a part of human nature that is probably tied to some survival mechanism left over from our pre-historic past, so I suspect not.  Maybe it would significantly reduce it, but as long as everybody loves a winner and sports equals dollars then I think we’ll be stuck with cheating – even if the resulting victories are all too often hollow.



Posted by ciocc-cat at 5:49 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 22 October 2012 5:52 PM CDT
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Saturday, 20 October 2012
The Ol' Ciocc Cat Was Back Today!
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Cycling
Decided to skip the BRBC Century (30-mile) tomorrow and rode my usual 24-mile loop out to St. Gabriel and back. Temperature was 55F at start of ride. Felt strong and pushed a 16-18 mph pace for a good chunk of the ride. Passed the Alligator Bayou "A-Ride" going out - figured they'd catch me after they turned around at the bar but they never did. Passed them going the other way after I turned around at the River Road. The ol' Cat was back today! Started to fade a little the last few miles, but held pace above 15 mph. Didn't feel overly tired after the ride. 

Note: Whenever I wear my old green-and-yellow SBC club jersey I seem to ride faster.

Posted by ciocc-cat at 11:00 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Reality Check (OUCH!)
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Cycling
I went riding last Saturday morning in preparation for my October 21 30-mile BRBC Fall Century ride. I felt like someone who hadn't ridden in over a month for the first few miles, but once I was on Alligator Bayou Road I shifted onto my 47 tooth "big" ring and cruised along at a steady 16 mph - my "distance pace".  I felt good - for awhile.  I started to run out of gas at about the turn-around point at the River Road, but it really hit home coming back.  I could blame it on skipping breakfast, but the truth is that I'm out of shape.  By the time I was getting close to the Alligator Bayou Bar my speed had dropped to barely 13 mph and I was suffering.  I managed to get home okay, but my arm and leg muscles were screaming "WTF" at me.  So now I'm seriously questioning if I should attempt a 30-mile ride in hilly country when I struggled on a 24 mile ride on mostly flat terrain.

Posted by ciocc-cat at 8:41 PM CDT
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Friday, 12 October 2012
Maybe Next Year . . .
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Cycling
I'm celebrating.  Alligator Bayou Road is officially re-opened and I plan to put in some "training miles" tomorrow.  Actually, after a better-than-a-month hiatus from "serious cycling" due to lack of access to my favorite cycling route and lack of a training partner (my buddy John has had to work on weekends), Saturday morning's ride will be more of a "how much am I going to suffer next weekend" ride.  You see, Sunday-after-next is the Baton Rouge Bicycle Club Fall Century.  I've signed up for the 30 mile route.  Back-in-the-day, I'd have ridden a full century without much in the way of concern.  Hell, back in the day I once did an impromptu double-metric!  But that was then and this is a hilly-for-south-Louisiana course that I'll most likely be mostly riding solo, so I'm erring on the side of caution/reality.  Maybe next year if I can seriously train I'll attempt a full century again.  Yeah, there's always next year . . .

Posted by ciocc-cat at 7:32 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 8:24 PM CDT
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Friday, 21 October 2011
Ciocc bicycle frame workshop
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Cycling

Video of how they made Ciocc frames back in the early 1980s when lightweight steel still ruled the pro peleton (with catchy pop-symphonic soundtrack):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfgz-2WouyQ

You've got to admire the skilled craftmanship and efficiency of these builders.  I wonder if my Ciocc San Cristobal is in this video?  Probably not - these look like later models (braze-on front derailleur tang and dual bottle cage mounts).  Besides, Maestro Pelizzoli says that he remembers building mine!


Posted by ciocc-cat at 7:08 PM CDT
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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Weekend Warrior
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Cycling

I haven’t blogged in awhile – between work, parenting and the ongoing home remodeling I haven’t had the time or energy for “recreational writing”. 

 

My buddy John and I have been cycling together on weekends.  We have a relatively car-free training route (you can view at http://www.livestrong.com/loops/prairieville_steve_s_38_mile_alligator_bayou_loop-I25BaeDLFJ ) that takes us from my house out Manchac Road to the River Road, turns north and loops around to Gummers Lane, then back to the River Road and return.  Lots of other cyclists use this route.  Mileage is just shy of 40 miles, which makes for a good Saturday morning ride of under two-and-a-half hours at our average 16 to18 mph pace.  Conversely, I’m not training during the week like I did last year and earlier this past Spring.  April started attending Third Grade at Elite in August, so we’ve been getting up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get her to school by 6:50 a.m.  That means she’s normally home before I am in the evenings, so no more after-work time-alone for either the wind-trainer or “beer rides”.  Fortunately, my lack of weekday training hasn’t adversely my speed – if anything, I’ve gotten faster from having to keep up with a younger guy who regularly works-out and rides a lighter, more modern bike.  My quads have gotten bigger and firmer – now if I can just drop another 10 pounds and lose what’s left of my “spare tire” I’ll really be in great shape. 

 

What else?  I’ve pretty much talked myself out of wanting a new bike.  When John got his carbon fiber Cannondale Synapse this past Spring I briefly caught “new bike fever”.  I looked into getting a hi-tech, brifter-equipped, index-shifting, umpty-speed carbon fiber wonder, but the more research I did the less enthusiastic I became about hanging-up my dependable ol’ steel-frame, friction-shifting Ciocc.  My Ciocc turned 25 years-old last April, but with the upgrades I’ve made since I started riding again (i.e., Kelly “Take-Offs” shifters, Selle SMP TRK saddle, etc.) the seeming advantages of a new bike simply aren’t all that.  Besides, I dropped John on the home stretch of last Saturday’s ride for the first time since we started riding together and felt like I could have gone another 10 miles. 

 

I learned a long time ago that it isn’t the bike that matters most, it’s the motor.  I just have to be reminded of that lesson once in awhile, that's all.


Posted by ciocc-cat at 12:25 PM CDT
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Monday, 2 May 2011
Sunday Afternoon Ride
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Cycling


 

 
John and me ready for a 20-mile Sunday afternoon ride out passed Alligator Bayou.  This was John's first ride on his new Cannondale Synapse.

Posted by ciocc-cat at 9:45 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 12 April 2011
My Ciocc with (GASP!) "brifters".

Brifters?  Er, not exactly . . . they're Kelly Take-Offs!  They provide the convenience of shifting from the bars for those "retro grouches" like me who still prefer old-school friction-shifting derailleurs to index-shifting STI/Ergo.

 

 


Posted by ciocc-cat at 11:41 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 15 February 2011
My motivation
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Cycling

How I stay motivated to train:

 


Posted by ciocc-cat at 6:21 PM CST
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